05 Jun 2019

‘Protecting Habitats – restoring ecosystems’ STUBE WORKSHOP

Goslar (17th – 19th May 2019)

Participants: Zainab Musa Shallangwa, Sabina Appiah-Boateng and Alasambom Nyingchuo

A report by Sabina Appiah-Boateng

The Stube workshop in Goslar, Germany was a platform for gaining and sharing knowledge, networking, and fun making. The theme for the workshop was: Protecting Habitats – restoring ecosystems: challenges and opportunities.

The total number of participants was 25. This membership comprised bachelor, masters and few doctoral students. On the arrival day, the workshop organizer, Madam Susan gave the welcome address, outlined the schedule for the workshop, and pronounced the dos and don’ts. The SDG Graduate School participants served as guest speakers and so we collectively gave a lecture about our Graduate School ‘Performing Sustainability Cultures and Development in West-Africa’. At the beginning of our presentation, we explored the awareness about sustainable development goals. Surprisingly, not all the workshop participants were aware of this international mandate. We enlightened participants on the seventeen SGDs and carefully made it clear to participants the cultural sustainability gap of which our Graduate School is promoting this important component through innovative research that brings together approaches from performance, arts and culture, and a focus on issues of peace and conflict resolution. We also introduced our funders (DAAD German Academic Exchange Service) and the three collaborative universities (University of Hildesheim – Germany, University of Maiduguri – Nigeria and University of Cape Coast – Ghana).

On the 18th of May, Dr. Ute Jacob, a scientist, Liaison for Science and Conservation at the Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity (HIFMB) presented on the future of Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in the face of Climate Change – input, exchange, and exercises. In this presentation, the speaker indicated the benefits of marine as transport means, source of livelihood, boosting climate, and argue strongly against marine chemical, noise, oil and metal pollution and the poisoning of the sea, among others. We the SDG Graduate School participants linked her presentation to how humanity can use culture as ways to preserve the marine ecosystem. Sabina gave a cultural practice from Ghana where fish and crop farmers are not allowed to go to the farm or do fishing on a particular day and cited the importance as allowing these ecosystems to regain their strengths for future use. An excursion was made to the Bad Harzburg National Park on this same day. The purpose of this trip was to connect theory with practice. At the park, we appreciated the richness of the forest reserve and the introduction of technology (canopy walk-way) that makes it possible to see the branches of the trees from top to down. We observed that friends, families, students, and chair-ridden patients came over to appreciate nature and have some psychological healing. Nonetheless, the park suffered erosions as many trees had their roots hanging posing threats to tourists.

On Sunday, 19th May 2019, Alida Hasiniaina, a doctoral student at the University Veterinary Medicine, Hannover and a native of Madagascar enlightened participants on Madagascar biodiversity: challenges and objectives. She recounted how human activities through illegal mining and falling down of trees and poverty issues are contributing to the destruction of the rich biodiversity in Madagascar.

The whole period was educating, fun and making friends from different countries but above all, it was very wakening as it pressed on our consciousness the need to preserve the ecosystems. Humans enormously benefit from the ecosystem as it sustains our lives. We have learned to stop polluting the environment, to manage waste in appropriate ways, educate fish farmers to avoid acidification during fishing, and to stop dumping refuse in water bodies. To some of us researching on agricultural conflicts, it has beckoned on us the need to bring to light the effects of over-grazing among pastoralists to the ecosystem, and over-tilling land and the use of chemicals which contribute to the loss of some special species in the soil. Let us all join the Fridays for Future Movement.

Ecosystem: Enjoy it, Preserve it for future use.